An ongoing trend in web technologies has been the addition of interactive functions that allow visitors to interact with the content on the page, (i.e. community portals, search engines, etc.). These sites often attract multilingual communities. As national boundaries in communication fade, however, the language barriers remain.
Some user research has shown that many people are more comfortable formulating search queries or communicating in their own language but have difficulty typing these queries or messages. Imagine, for example, how inconvenienced the user becomes when typing in English on a French keyboard or entering a Russian or an Arabic search query on an English keyboard. Features such as search, email, forms/surveys, forums, and customer service become unreachable for the users. Typing searches on keyboards not designed for your languages can be frustrating, even impossible.
To overcome the difficulty they face in typing in their local language scripts, some people have resorted to copying and pasting from other sites and from online translation tools. But there’s an easier way — a virtual, or on-screen keyboard, lets you type directly in your local language script no matter where you are or what computer you’re using.
Virtual keyboards let people type directly in their local language script and don't require any additional software.
Smart Link Virtual Keyboard has been developed in 2002 and first supported 14 Western and Eastern European language layouts including phonetic or transliterated layouts for such languages as Russian and Ukrainian. In the transliterated layout, the Russian or Ukrainian keys are mapped to match English letters; therefore such layouts became a very popular way to type in these languages.
The virtual keyboard also implemented a “dead key” which allows inputting characters with their associated diacritics for the languages with special characters. To make the virtual keyboard more familiar to the users, upper/lower case and Caps Lock support is also implemented.
As an extra convenience, we have implemented the physical keyboard interception. This allows users to enter texts not only by clicking on the letters of the virtual keyboard, but by using the physical keyboard as well.
By 2004 more language layouts have been developed covering not only European languages, but Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Hindi, Urdu and others. For the Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi and Urdu languages, with the right-to-left writing, the automatic data-entry direction recognition system has been implemented. Today Smart Link Virtual keyboard supports 41 language layouts.
Smart Link Virtual keyboard has been also developed as a protection against key logging.
Key logging is an increasingly serious problem as companies transfer many of their services and support to the web. While this trend makes these services more convenient for customers, and more cost effective for businesses, it also increases the amount of private and sensitive information that can fall prey to key logging.
Smart Link Virtual keyboard can be developed as an additional precaution feature to replace the physical keyboard for secure login or input of secure information. It provides a more secure transaction environment especially in areas open to general use.
The new wave of touch screen kiosk technology is to use web-based applications as they allow a more efficient way of data collection. However the input source technology of touch screen has not been keeping up with this trend. In 2004 Smart Link Corporation offered an elegant solution to this problem to replace this old input technology with the Touchscreen Virtual keyboard, a web-based application which does not require any hardware or software installations. Smart Link Touchscreen Virtual Keyboard supports 41 language layouts.
Smart Link Virtual keyboard is implemented in three modes: floating keyboard, pop-up keyboard and iFrame keyboard.
Smart Link Virtual keyboard is compatible with all major browsers.